tv Book TV After Words CSPAN December 25, 2009 10:00pm-11:00pm EST
medium at the armory -- meet him at the armory, which was a black-tie event, and shake hands with him there. they could not do both. three statewide democratic officeholders were the lieutenant governor, the attorney general, and a young secretary of state by the name of kevin white. air force one comes in to logan airport. kevin white, and frank chose to greet the airport -- to greet the president at the airport. just as the plane is landing, the lieutenant governor shows up in black tie. [laughter] . .
>> for those that don't know it, they went on to the dinner and that was where j.f.k. had said he was talking to teddy, and he had told him he was tired of runging on the family name, so he was going to change his name from teddy kennedy to teddy roosevelt. [laughter] >> you know, the one funny thing about the name is because he was born on february 22, jack, his older brother, wanted to call him george washington
kennedy. >> that's the 200th anniversary of george washington's birth. amazing coincidence. >> so let's, before we close out, and we have a few questions from the audience, who we'll get to, let's bring it right up to today. e.j. dionne, you first met barack obama in 1997, the only member of the legislature not indicted out there. [laughter] do you think -- >> and what's wrong with that? >> do you think that any part of senator kennedy's endorsement of barack obama for president was rooted in the possibility that he heard his brother's voice in barack obama? >> that's really interesting question. you mentioned -- i always say i'm from massachusetts. we have mad our problems in this sphere. i always like to say thak god for louisiana. >> for both of us.
>> for the sake of us all. >> consist kids and young adults who worked for bobby kennedy's campaign ended up supporting barack obama, and who heard a little bit of a sense of j.f.k. in the sort of somewhat -- the cerebral and cool part of him. and some of the r.f.k. in the more sort of -- in the more passionate part of him. and different people who were out of the kennedy tradition, some saw him more as jesk, some saw him more as r.f.k. and i think that's possible. but you gave me an opening to do one thing i wanted to do before we close. by chance, i was looking up something in arthur schlesinger's great journals.
they're fantastic. there's a lot of great gossip in them. there are a lot of very shrewd political observations. and i happened upon this passage in 1963. so it was taken the first year after he got elected. it's not about ted kennedy. and this does go to your question, i promise. >> it's ok if it doesn't. >> and he was -- schlessinger was in the white house in april, 1963. and he was talking about the problem that old new dealers and new frontier people just seem to come from a different tradition. the new dealers, he said -- of the new dealers, he said, the heart was worn much more on the sleeve then. the new frontier has a deep mistrust of what it regards as the pat liberal sentiment talts and chi chase of the 1930's. i sympathize with both sides and can see clearly why each is baffled by the other, all the more baffled because of the substantial agreement on
policy. though the new dealers are still more audacious, less impressed by business wisdom and more willing to damn the torpedoes. though it signifies a deeper difference in commitment, a change, in a way, from evangelists who want to do something because it is just and right to technocrats, who want to do something because it is rational and necessary. the new frontier lacks the evangelical impulse. and then he closes, "i wish i could figure out the terms in which the idealism and imagination of the new deal could be infused into the anti-sentimental, anti-rhetorical, understated mood of the new frontier." and it occurred to me when i read that, that in some ways ted kennedy's life was working out those two streams of liberal thought. he was very much out of the new frontier, but he also represented in so many ways
that more audacious part of the new deal. and i have a hunch he might have seen that very tension and effort to work things out in obama. >> you know what's intriguing, the fact that you take your glasses off for reading, when i put my glasses on for reading. [laughter] >> i refuse to get bifolkals is what that says -- bifolk california is what that says. >> we have a couple of questions. the first question is what do you think or what did mrs. kennedy think would be senator kennedy's position on president obama's announcement of a troop surge in afghanistan. >> we're in bad territory here. it's like when abraham lincoln's daughter announced if her grandfather were alive she'd be sure he'd be a taft republican. hard to say. >> doris, do you want to take a stab at that? >> no. [laughter]
>> e.j.? >> what about where fools fear to tread? >> there's no way you'll be wrong. >> i think there are three crick camps on this. there are the hawks, which he wouldn't have been, because they wanted to commit to troops. and then there's a group where -- i ran into several different democrats whose reaction was, god, i hope he's right, who were very uneasy about this choice, but think he may have had no better choice. i think kennedy might be suspended somewhere between the dove and the god, i hope he's right camp. >> i don't think so >> you think he would have disagreed with it? >> i think he would have asked the president of the united states, do you really think afghanistan is going to look any different three or five years from now than it does right now.
[applause] >> we have one last question that i don't think any of us can answer, and it is this. and it's to vicky kennedy. senator kennedy's dogs, splash and sunny. it was touching the relationship. we miss them of the how are they doing? -- we miss them, how are they doing? [inaudible] [laughter] [applause] >> and thank you to the panel, because it is now -- [applause]
>> it is now my distinct pleasure to introduce the pride of brockton, massachusetts, and the scourge of corporate america, america's favorite pay czar, ken feinberg. [applause] >> thank you all. thank you all very much. just before we conclude, i want to thank all of you for being here. i want to thank my friend who's here this evening representing the senate, kennedy senate institute. i also want to acknowledge the absence, but his shadow is all over this place, the man i replaced, junior senator paul kirk, whose shoes, as the new chairman of the foundation board, i could never fill.
i'll just do the best that i can. i also want to express what an honor it is for me to serve as the chairman of the foundation and to have as my first public appearance being here today at this forum discussing my former boss, my friend, my mentor, senator kennedy. it is an extreme honor for me as chairman to spend my first official visit to the library as chairman at a public event honoring this great, great man. i also want to remind all of you -- as if you needed any reminding -- that this forum today is very, very memorable. i don't know when we'll be able to get this group of panelists back together on the same stage. it may be that you will tell your family and your
grandchildren that you were here, that you were here this evening to hear from this extraordinary quartet that's been up here this evening. [applause] >> just two final points. first, inevitably in the decades ahead, years from now, there will be books written -- histories written about senator kennedy. it won't be political science, it won't be current events, it will be real history, as people will look back decades from now about his extraordinary impact. and i guarantee you that when those books are written 10, 20, 30 more years from now, there will be a huge chapter not yet
written about the impact on senator kennedy's personal and public life. the critical impact of vicky kennedy. and i think we all ought to acknowledge that. [applause] >> finally, i hope that you'll take advantage at the conclusion of this forum to go downstairs, buy a book, see vicky, buy -- let me tell you about buying this book. the library's supply of this book is virtually inexhaust i believe. so don't worry. thank -- inexhaustable. so don't worry. thank you all for coming.
>> here's what's coming up on c-span's christmas schedule. next, a discussion on the political events and trends that will shape 2010. at 11:15 p.m. eastern, author richard brookhighser, and later on we'll reair the discussion on the life and legacy of senator edward m. kennedy. >> in the mid 1990's, "newsweek" named him one of the most 50 influential people to watch in cyberspace. since then he's created the social networking site blackplanet.com, helped found a charter school in brooklyn and explained new technologies on oprah. sunday night he talks about his current studies at harvard and what's ahead on c-span's q&a. >> the commivet magazine held a conference earlier this month
focusing on events that may shape 2010. up next we'll talk to a panel which includes david gregory, eric cantor and former press secretary joe lockhart. this lasts about an hour. >> let me introduce our panelists, first of all. congressman eric cantor. of course, very familiar to everyone, not just in this town, but in this country. republican whip and a busy year ahead of him certainly. joe lockhart was chief spokesman, as you all know, for the clinton white house and is now a founding partner and managing director of the global park group, which is a large and flourishing specialist in
media relations, and, of course, very familiar around this town as well. adam boulton is an extremely familiar face on british television, but knows his way around washington as well. he was here in this town for the first 100 days of the obama administration. but he is also one of the most experienced and respected commentators on not only british politics, but politics around the world for "sky news." and last, but not least, david gregory, who is the host of "meet the press" for nbc. a chance, here, i think, to change you for allowing us to be present at your program yesterday. it was much appreciated. thank you very much. congressman, if i can start with you. imagine we're sitting here a year from now and you're looking back on 2010.
apart, presumably, from the heroic republican victory in the midterm, what would be your highlights of the political year? >> well, you know, if we're a year from now looking back, i think the story obviously has to be the progress or lack thereof made on the jobs front. clearly this has been a year in 2009 and will be again about whether washington will focus on getting americans back to work. if i go back and look at where we've been over the last 11 months, i remember the instance when i was at a meeting with the president at the white house in january. it was said amongst both parties at the time that we were going to do everything we could working together to try and get this economy going again. and what has been so baffling, i think to me personally, and many, many americans at this point is how is it that we continue to say we're putting jobs first, but we see the kind
of proposals that continue to be revealed that don't help people get back to work. you know, this week, and i know today in the news very much, is the issue of climate change, and in particular, the bill cap and trade and the continued promotion of that effort. and now we see an administrative effort to try and declare a public endangerment of carbon emissions. that has sent, i'm sure, shock waves through industry in this country and through the job creators of this country. so, again, we have a situation where there's clearly a disconnect between the proposals being pushed by this administration, the majority in congress over the last year, and i'm fearful that the same thing will occur in 2010, because all of us want to get americans back to work. i also think that, you know, long term, and certainly in 2010, we'll look back and see what this town has done
regarding the deficit that we're facing in this country. i mean, people in america understand the credit card is maxed out and there are very limited options at this point. you can go borrow from the chinese or you can raise taxes, neither of which help the primary concern of americans right now, which is getting back to work. and i gave a speech last week at the heritage foundation rolling out some proposals that we could take now together that don't cost anything to try and help this economy along. if we hopefully move in that direction, maybe november, 20 10, will turn out differently. but i'm thinking very much that the outcome in 2010 will reflect what i heard at the thanksgiving dinner table last week, and that is people in this country have a real sense of pessimism right now because they're scared. they're scared and they don't see leadership in washington expressing their concerns. president obama was elected
because he said we needed change. i think what people in this country want now is certainty, businesses and families alike. >> one of the things that, as an outsider coming into america, i'm always struck by is the fundamental optimism of this country, a sort of sense of the possible. what you're describing speaks to a sort of grumpy, gloomy mood next year. do you think that's right, or are we going to see the optimistic, upside of america on display as well? >> i think we saw last week sort of a recognition on the part of this administration that, hey, wait a minute, it's been 11 months. maybe we ought to get back and talk about jobs. we ought to talk about the kinds of issues that people face around the kitchen table, which is essentially getting through the month, worrying about college tuition, worrying about whether they can retire early or not. and if jobs is the key to that, maybe we should take some encouragement. but what i did not hear last week was a recognition on the
part of this white house and the majority in congress that we ought to do something to reduce the price of risk, because that's what small billses and large that we're counting on to -- businesses and large that we're counting on need to hear. and until we focus on the number one issue, which is economic security for families in this country, i'm fearful, yes, that we may see a very grumpy electorate. >> do you sense it or do you secretly want it? >> listen, i don't think anybody wants to root against the american public. all of us want to see this country continue to lead the world. and in order to do that, we've got to regain our economic footing. >> joe lockhart, is your thanksgiving table next year going to be a slightly more cheerful place? >> well, thankfully, i'm not running for anything. there's a lot i could disagree with there, but we could turn this into cable television quickly, an that's not good for
anybody. i think there's some analogous circumstances to where we were in 1993 and 1994. you have a very, very difficult economic situation, much worse this time, than when president clinton took over from the first president bush. and i think what you've seen this year is a lot of hard, tough decisions that have been made. this president didn't want to go in and save a bunch of big banks and insurance companies. that's not why he ran for president. he had to. i don't think he wanted to run deficits the way he did, but the economy had to get going. the question will be timing. the question is, how quickly do all of these things that we're coordinating globally, how quickly will they turn this economy? it's going to turn. you know, i'm optimistic about the economic future of the country. i don't think we've seen our best days. i don't think there's anybody in town that does. but if it does not turn quickly enough, if employment -- you
know, last week was a good first step, but i think we're going to see steps forward and steps backwards. if it doesn't turn quickly enough, it's going to be a tough environment for incumbents and there's a lot more democratic incumbents than republicans. >> one of the issues for the democrats is motivating the base at a time when things might be a little bit rough, when you don't have the excitement of a new presidency coming in potentially. how do you see that panning out? >> midterm elections are historically difficult for the incumbent party, particularly if they control all three branches. this is a country that is grumpy and is looking for an instant solution to very difficult problems that there are no instant solutions for. you know, if there was an instant solution, i assume president bush 43 would have done it before he left. there isn't. so i think the question is -- you know, we were talking about this before -- that i'm interested in is democrats in
2008 made pretty significant advances on how to reach people and how to motivate them through technology, through social media. whether that can be transplanted and built upon for 2010. if it can, that's a pretty significant advantage. i'm certain that the republicans are sitting someplace with their own plans, and i'll be interested to see, because we tend to leapfrog each other. the party out of power is more motivated -- >> you feel that the democrats stole a march in the last cycle and are ahead of this game at the moment? >> i worked for john kerry for a couple of months in 2004, and i was surprise bid how significantly -- how much smarter the republican campaign was as far as infrastructure. and i think in 2008 republicans were surprised by what democrats were able to do. and i think being out of power is a great motivator to innovate and to think about new ways to engage voters. so i think democrats on paper
have an advantage right now. a couple of years in the wilderness, again, is a motivator. we'll see what happens. i think if we don't have that advantage, you know, that point to a tough year. >> adam boulton, you're very familiar with america, but, again, coming with this somewhat outsider perspective, and you come back having spent an intensive here for the beginning of the obama administration. what do you see the dynamics going into next year as being? >> it i'm not so sure that fort rest of the world the midterm elections will matter too much regardless of what the results are, because i think the rest of the world perceive the president as having a great deal of trouble with the congress trying to get through what he wants to get through. and also, because i suspect that, you know, just as president obama gets the nobel prize, probably the assumption of the rest of the world could
be the wrong one, is that he looks like a two-term president, and indeed that, the mood of electorates across the world in stable democracies now tends to be to go for two terms, to make a decision and then turn away. i think there is still, as far as obama is concerned, certainly in europe -- not including israel in europe necessarily -- a tremendous amount of good will and a feeling that the economic crisis has been handled well, and a sense that the governments certainly in britain and america behave in a very similar way, which makes it paradoxical that i would agree with it's official preer districts thates he'll lose the election, because people are getting tired of an incumbent government, that they've been there for 13 years.
there's a sense of time for a change. gordon brown is uncharismatic, the economy that he's been stewed with consistently has been -- well, we're the only g-20 nation not out of recession yet, although it depends what you mean by a g-20 nation, according to gordon brown. but also, i think there is another factor which we perhaps haven't necessarily mentioned sufficiently, which is that britain has turned dramatically against the post-9/11 conflicts, that for britain, there are 100 casualties. in afghanistan this year that's the highest number. i know it's small compared to the united states. and that has really poisoned politics for the incumbent government, the government which took us to war. attorney blair, for example, is viciously unpopular in britain. i can't think of any section of society where you mention the name tony blair, and even though he was thrice
re-elected, people don't almost necessarily spit at the mention of the name. it's not surprising he spent so much time abroad. >> there are other reasons for that, too. >> there are other reasons. he's making money. but what do most people want for christmas? they'd love the iraqi inquirey to convict tony blair. that is how the national mood is expressing themselves and in going for a character like cameron, although -- >> it's curious, isn't it in, this globalized world, supposedly, that we live in, you're describing a situation that is probably news to some people here, that tony blair is so deeply unpopular as you suggest in britain. >> gordon brown is not someone they spend too much time thinking about. president obama, as you mentioned, is still very much more popular, i think, abroad. his popularity hasn't rubbed off abroad to the extent that
it has in this country. why is it that we're so -- the reputations don't travel as quickly as you think other things travel? >> it's partly because of the function of democracy. they keep calling for democracy with rivals, whereas abroad, you just have to say who's in charge. certainly there's leaders in office. it doesn't really matter where idealogically they come from. for example, tony blair moving seamlessly from bush-blair, and that's how he's perceived in national politics. but the other factor, if we want to globalize this argument at the moment, is that we are at the end of an era where people played political assumptions fundamentally that, the market was good, that the market could sort out a lot of the problems which the world
might have faced. now following their banking collapse and the rest of it, there is a realization that what we call a state -- let's not get confused, that the government has a bigger role, but precisely a time when the government can't actually find the money to do something to occupy that big a role, and, therefore, has to go back to relying on individual responsibility. and it seems to me that's the question in all of these elections, we've been talking about that balance between private enterprise and between the role of the central states. it's what's going to be argued out. >> i suspect that will be a key debating point in elections coming up. i'd like to ask you a little built about the quality of the discourse that you expect to see in the year ahead. you're going to have to moderate some of this. first of all, how do you think it's been in the past? what's been the dynamic of discourse in washington? what momentum are we
approaching >> i think new presidents into the reality of washington, that it's a tough place to change cull turelly. there's limits as what presidents can do with their own coalition, even within their party, and then working outside their party. and they run up against the ambition of the other party. as congressman cantor -- he does well in the way he sort of breaks down some of the major pressure points on the administration. there are also what republicans have taken into battle into the midterm year, which is essentially a look at the status quo. do you like how things are going under obama? if not, how about a change? they're not really a party of ideas right now because they don't want to be. i think they will move into a period of time where they want to get more aggressive in presenting some contrast. right now they're happy to say look how high unemployment is,
look how high the deficit. they're act more virtuous about the need to control the deficit than they did when the republicans were in power in washington. but they'll do this to sort of say look at the status quo and look how he's managing it and isn't he taking on too much and all the rest. so i think the discourse got off to a pretty bad start. i think the white house undersmimented how difficult health care would be as a matter of public debate. now, they could have taken a closer look at how quickly the debate can be sort of sidetracked, as it was during the clinton administration, both the clinton administration's mistakes and then also how the opposition chose to go about it. it's a very tough subject. i take one example of the president was irritated of the response to his press conference early on in the health care debate when he sort of held fort and explained what was going on in the healthcare system and what the remedies would be. and then that question came up about professor gates, and that had this huge reaction, and the president was irritated that
that's what the takeaway was, not realizing that he just wasn't breaking through holding fort on health care, which is difficult, really, to understand. so i think the discourse will sort of continue as it's been. what i think you have to focus on is presidents get unpopular when they get involved in legislating. there's a reason why congress isn't popular. when presidents get more involved in that, it's an uglier process. presidents are evaluated by achievement. they like to achieve. they don't want to be seen doing the achieving, they want to just achieve. so when the president -- and i think it is a matter of when at this point. he does get health reform passed. then as president clinton has suggested, you'll see that become more popular as it goes along. but he needs some achievements under his belt. >> let's assume that health care does happen, that the bill is passed sometime early next
year. what does the agenda then move on to? there's still the climate change, the energy bill. >> right, and i think they'll tackle that. they'll talk about immigration. as congressman cantor said, it's about jobs. i thought last week was an interesting juxtaposition. what are the two issues that could define the presidency? a war he inherited in afghanistan and the jobs picture. but i think jobs are much more likely to define him. if you look at the recession in the early 19 0's and the high point of unemployment -- i think it was 10.4% or 10.8%, it dropped within sevenments to single digits and within a year it was down almost three points. that was perfect timing for the election and it was morning again in america. i mean, the democrats by the midterm, if they can get it -- they need morning again in america under their leadership. that's the issue. you know, in 2004 for the re-elect that joe was part of, karl rove would go to president bush and say if the question is terrorism, the answer is george
bush. and that simple matrix ultimately worked and sort of in a way that confound so many people. we turned a vietnam war veteran, some guy who was not tough enough to take on the terrorists, that was the work of a political operation. so ultimately the democrats have to find a way to sort of turn this ocean liner in a better direction, you know, by the midterm point if they're going to have some traction. >> congressman, could i come back to you and actually pick up something that joe lockhart said about the tricks of the trade, if you look, going into an election, that somehow in this constantly changing battle of the last cycle the democrats nudged ahead in terms of their use of technology, use of the internet, mobilization and so on. what can we expect in the form of innovation from the republican party in the midterm? >> you know, daniel, i think probably the best place to look is in virginia and new jersey about a month ago in these gubernatorial electricses.
i know in my home state of virginia, we far surpassed the get out the vote effort of the other side this time, and it came, from really, the energy now that has been focused on what's going on in washington coupled with a very disciplined, very good campaign led by our governor elect bob mcdonald. so i do think joe is correct, motivation of those out of party is necessarily going to trump the incumbent party, but i also think that it has to do with real challenges. it's not perceived here. people have problems at home. when you look at the official unemployment and it says it's at 10% or a little higher, they say that the unofficial rate, those who are either working part-time jobs or just simply given up, is probably closer to 20%. you know, that's extraordinary. and so everybody, if they're
not out of a job, knows someone who is or is worried about losing a job. and so when you see a leader, a candidate, such as bob maryland put forth -- bob mcdonald say i want to translate the vision -- and i take issue with david, who says we don't talk about ideas. i'll turn it on him. and i know he and i have said this before. we don't think that necessarily it's as sexy of a story for the mainstream media to cover our ideas right now, because it is the incumbent party in power. the presidency is held by the democrats, as well as both houses of congress. it is their agenda, which is now up -- >> up for referendum. >> what is the big idea for -- >> jobs is not an idea, but -- >> well, the big idea is to get -- to produce an environment where we can have job creation again. and see, that's where i think that the obama administration
agenda so clearly disadvantages the democrats in this upcoming election in 11 months and advantages us. i mean, and the same was true a month ago in virginia. >> there are some alternative ideas within the agenda, kind of like a defense lawyer arguing against the prosecution. i think there's some discussion within the republican party about whether there's a need for a second contract with america, so on and so forth. maybe we see by the midterm, maybe they wait till 2012. but right now, i think the republican party really wants to say did the prosecution prove its case. just take a look at how the democrats in power are running things and let's make a judgment based on that. i do want to say something else which is away from the substance of sheer politics, which is what do republicans want to be? i don't think they've quite worked that out yet in terms of what they want to be as a party, what direction. is it bob mcdonald in virginia? is it the new jersey race or is it sarah palin? i mean, there's a process that
has to be gone through here to where republicans decide and republican voters decide what is the way back. and i don't know that that's been decided yet. >> let me respond to that. i know clearly for myself, i do very much believe it is in the mode of bob mcdonald. and i don't think it's necessarily so clear-cut that we could be one of the other. because if you look at bob mcdonald and what he stood for and his record in our general assembly, he was extraordinarily conservative in all issues. it wasn't that he shied away from any of the conservative principles he briefed in, but he focused those principles of free markets, of limited government, lower taxes, faith in god he focused those on the kitchen table issues that were plaguing voters and began to represent a leader that could actually deliver some results and get people back to work. >> that brought up a problem which, again, i think is a trends not just in this country, that there is now a
kind of a disgruntled, pissed off, if you'd like, oppositionist right, which in some countries -- in britain, we have the british national party and the u.k. independence party, they've got a bigger chunk than they've had before, australia, which i have's had the opposition conservative party there, just ousted their leader there for supporting climate change. we've not northern leagues in italy, and here we have glenn beck and rush limbaugh about what is the true republican party. it seems to me that there is a very clear term out on the right, which also will be a problem. >> adam, i've always said this -- there are a lot of voices in both parties, and there are those in public office and those not, and there is a different notive often in terms of those in the media than perhaps those of us who owe it to our constituents to live up to the promises made. and i think you're right in that people are pissed off, you
know, in this country, because there's a lack of demonstrable result. and as people are out of work, they become even more enraged at a lack of deliverables on the part of government. >> you don't want to talk about, as i understand it, whether barack obama is deeply racist, right? >> you want to talk about -- i mean, listen, people are looking for leadership now, and they don't care about that issue. they care about getting back to work. >> but when you have that raised and put on the agendas, that's a problem for you. >> i donned -- i want to make this less partisan, although it may come out as partisan and talk a little about history. because i am listening carefully to what you say, and my history doesn't go back very long. i remember the 1990's under a democratic president where we took a budget deficit and created 23 million jobs. we gave that to the republicans. we lost the surplus. and under president bush, if we created a lot of jobs, i don't
know where they were. the unemployment rate didn't start at zero in january of this year and go to 10%. this was financial mismanagement that went on for a decade. and you know what? the president is doing his best to try to turn that around. now, that's my partisan speech. elections aren't about history. elections are about the moment. and you know what? one of the reasons barack obama was elected was people thought, yeah, he seems to be young and promising, but, boy, is he different than that bum we want to throw out. and one of the reasons why bill clinton was elected, and the same with jimmy carter. so it's a bipartisan feeling that we do this. i think, you know, it is a tough year for the incumbents. i think, just to pick up on, i think, what david and adam were saying, one positive sign for the democrats -- one positive sign is the election is not today. that's number one. [laughter] it's a while from now. because i don't think the president is responsible for these problems, but he owns
them because he's the president. and there's no getting around that. but the second thing that goes to democrats and republicans and where they are as far as figuring out what they want to do, what their leadership is. democrats have an advantage, that they do have the presidency as far as message orientation. you know, there's a lot of negatives there. but i think what's really interesting, looking at democrats, is the reaction to the afghanistan speech. fully 50% of the party in congress did not support that speech. but you know what? they're swallowing it and they're going to move forward. they're going to be with the president or the party. if you look at the midterm elections with republicans, there's more of a struggle. i completely agree with what was said about bob mcdonald. as a partisan democrat, it's the scariest thing in the world to me that these people will use common sense and take a candidate and emphasize his strength, which is exactly what he did, and he won. but you also had new york 23,
where you had an election where republicans had the election won, i think, and then overplayed their hand because there's part of the party that believes that being practical, common sense, doesn't make sense. you have to be over on the far right. and that struggle is going to play out over the next year. and your group may win, but they may lose, too, and it's going to be an advantage to democrats. >> i want to try and escape for a moment from an america, and exclusively an american perspective and lift this up. we've had the most extraordinary global recession. you might think that there would be political trends that you could observe around the world in response to that, that there would be either anti-incumbency or it would swing to the left or to the right or do something totally unexpected. it's quite hard to detect global trends out of this. some incumbents have actually gotten back in.
we've seen the merkel government voted back in in germany. and if anything, voters have tended to swing to the conservative end in the british traditional sense of the word, not towards the right. but to play the safe. adam, you track politics around the world, what do you see? >> well, i think there are some other trends. taxes, generally speaking, have gone up. certainly they've gone up in both britain and the united states. deficit, again, is for whoever wins the general election in britain is going to be a massive problem, and actually, a lot of the european countries are not that far behind. but, again, i -- you know, my feeling is that there is a certain kind of realization of the limits of what government can do certainly in the -- those countries where the
government has assumed a bigger role. i was at a public meeting with a member of cameron's team and they came out and said that was absolutely fantastic, because did you notice how nobody asked me for money. and what we're not hearing and what we probably won't hear that much over the general election, but will happen afterwards, is undoubtedly going to be not just taxes, which i think probably pretty much have reached their limits, but real cuts in spending. and i think we are going to see that across the spectrum. >> i think it's interesting, i talked to a very prominent person in american finance yesterday who said the real question around the world is what the hell is going on in america. so in asia, that's been the case for a while. china has had a sense of kind of growing american weakness for a while and as america's creditor, feels they've got more leverage over the united states, less inclined to, you know, be supportive on other
geopolitical areas where we need their help in iran, north korea, etc. lots of south america and latin america, things look up. europe is having a hard time and the united states is having a hard time. but the question, this person said, is what happened to capitalism. you know, this talk of regulation, that the bailouts and whatnot, there's just a real fear about where america is headed in this regard. you see that reflected in some of our major companies, too, who don't like the uncertainty about health care reform, don't like the uncertainty about energy policy, about tax policy. i've spoken to c.e.o.'s who say, hey, where is the impetus for economic growth? we don't see it in the united states. there's no real impetus for investment. this is a real point of contention right now, as the administration is trying to get the private sector jump-started to create jobs again, get consumers spending again. so i think one of the trends -- and adam spoke to the politics.
but on the policy side there's a real question about role of government, effectiveness of government with regard to the economy worldwide, and a lot of that is looking at the united states and wondering what's happening. >> i think it's certainly true that the outside world always looks to america, and particularly perhaps now at this time. but does america at all look to the outside world? we heard from peter david earlier on about iraq and brazil and elsewhere. you're going to be taken up with your own campaigns here. are there any lessons that you think you can pick up from other campaigns that have just been forged around the world or trends anywhere else? >> well, if you look at south america, maybe there is some lesson there. i know we just saw the bolivian elections. but take a look at what happened in uruguay last week in month veed yo, and the election of a traditionally leftist one-time terrorist guerrilla individual who then remade himself, committed to the voters of that country that
he saw himself in the fashion of governing like brazil, not like hugo chavez in venezuela. and i don't think anyone was surprised at the outcome of that election. and contrary to maybe some of the trends in europe and elsewhere where we may see a backlash and-day think in the united states going back towards the conservative end of the spectrum, i think that that election in uruguay points to the fact that people are going to elect leaders that can produce results for them. if you're good for people, if you're good for their life and is more in tuned with market-based policies from an economic standpoint that will recognize human rights and the defense of those rights, i do think those are some themes that perhaps can produce a somewhat different way. again, very much grounded, though, in what we like to call in virginia the common-sense conservative outlook that started way back with the
founders of 18th century servants of jefferson, madison and the rest. i do think you may see a trend again, deliverables spawned by adherence to these market-based principles of a limited government, but taking care of folks. >> i think conversely, you've got to avoid elections more and more, which will be one of the fallouts from iran and elsewhere. i also think that for next year there's going to be this growing trend. it's boring, it's organizational, but it's nonetheless very significant, which is the fact -- the view that the g-20 is now in a sense, the global economic regulator. i think that's going to be inescapable. i mean, it's a major shift in what was effectively the poll lar world, but the united states was -- >> two g summits next year, one in canada and one in south korea in the autumn, that it will be prominent. can i ask one final question?
then we'll go to the floor. perhaps to you, joe lockhart. europe, not something that perhaps people spend too much time worrying about. but there was the famous kissinger question, who do you call for europe. the europeans are now agonized for, what was it, eight or nine years over a constitutional -- well, it was no longer called a constitutional treaty, over a treaty, which has given them a so-called president and a high representative, in effect, a foreign secretary. but they've chosen people in these roles which charity eable can be described as people nobody has ever heard of. does anybody care about europe as a weight in the world, as an entity? has anybody answered the kissinger question for america? >> i think it's an evolving question. >> can you name the presidents of europe?
>> eric can. [laughter] >> i know who wants to be the president of europe. >> well, he didn't get it. >> i know. >> i think it's not a pressing question as far as america goes, because i think europe is a trusted place in this country. they think -- you know, we didn't agonize very long about going in head-long into military conflicts in europe in the last decade, because it was europe. while we young our hands, while there were exponentially more devastating genocide being committed in africa. and not taking a position, it's just a way of highlighting the deep connections between. so i don't think we worry much about europe. i think as europe integrates and becomes more powerful, we may over time, because i don't
think the average american thinks of europe in the way that europeans want to. >> actually, one of the concerns about the obama administration in europe anyway has been that he tended to take his allies for granted in focusing on reaching out to some of the parts of the world where relations have been previously more complicated. and there could be a reaction by europeans. and he's going to need allies in places like afghanistan. >> it's funny, because i think that goes to the previous question, too. i think one of the reasons why there isn't a trend right now is that the u.s. -- at least around the world -- is not as polarizing as it has been in the past, among both democrats and republicans, depending on the time. and electrics are getting decided on the ground, by issues on the ground, and not being influenced by cold war issues or u.s. diplomacy. i mean. you could go through europe and even other parts of the world and look at elections that turned on whether you were
anti-american enough or whether you were pro-american enough. and right now we have a president who's deeply committed to multilateralism. no one thinks they get enough time or attention from the american president, but -- and it is in some ways a positive and in some ways troubling, because the world needs leadership, and we're very internally focused right now on putting our own house in order, and that is potentially a dangerous situation. >> i just think there's a huge divide between europe and the united states with regard to strategic issues. i mean, there's been a change in orientation here about the war on terrorism, which this administration doesn't use. and peter in "time" magazine wrote something provocative about obama sort of downsizing the war on terror, compartment liesing it a little bit more, rather than making it as sweeping and broad as the bush administration did. but we covered our respective
governments or p.m.'s at the time, an seeing tony blair, the british public wasn't there at all. certainly not on iraq and not even on afghanistan as much. so you're seeing that. the notion of the nato alliance and maybe it's going to pledge 7,000 additional troops, you know, it's nice to have a coalition of the willing, but this is america's war. we're going to have 100,000 troops there. we own this thing. and the british, frankly, they've been there, seen it and said, no, thanks. but i mean, there's a view -- i'm not saying that they haven't been in afghanistan, but you're seeing more what you described, which is we just don't want to have a sustained commitment there. >> and i think oddly enough americans don't see the british as european. you ask someone, are these -- they don't, they don't. [laughter] >> let's go to the questions from the audience, who would like to ask?
>> right here. >> yes. wait for the microphone to come. >> oh, there's people here. [laughter] >> yes, could you say who you are. >> first of all, my name is ezra matthias. gregory david raised the point about the c.e.o. he was speaking to that talked about what's happening to american capitalism. now, i'm very surprised that -- i think it's a man who wrote a book on rogue economics. i'm surprised she's not part of the conflicts and globalization has unleashed problems that drove economics to go rogue, which is per primary thesis, ambassador i'm surpriseed that we haven't examined that -- and i'm surprised that we haven't examined that at all. >> that was more of a statement. let me go to the back there. yes.
>> i'm mark with, the foundation for job creation. my question is, is america's problem of not being able to create jobs, where does the lobbyists fit in? and are they interfering with job creation? >> where are the lobbyists? >> where do the lobbyists fit into this business of job creation? do they interfere with the process of job creation? are they perhaps helping? >> well, you know, i think that's a tough question. i think in the broadest possible sense, you know, even the best ideas get altered, and generally not for the better, because there are powerful lobbying interests in this town. and the lobbyists are very -- you know, they do well and their job is not to advocate
for the public good, but to advocate for the narrow, for their interests. and we still, despite, you know, the president running on a platform of let's take the special interests out of politics and government, it's still very prevalent. i think again, most broadly, i agree with republicans when they talk about the -- you know, the private sector is going to create the bulk of the new jobs. we don't want to create 10 million new government jobs. that makes no sense. what the federal government can do, both congress and the executive branch, is create conditions where jobs will flourish. we've had periods, the mid 1980's, that most of the 1990's where conditions were good and the private sector and the public sector worked together and jobs were created. we haven't seen that in a while, and that's really what we need to do. >> congressman? >> i'm not sure how to answer
the question of whether lobbyists as a whole are helpful or harmful to job creation. i mean, there are a slew of lobbyists, obviously, in this town, some representing big corporations, some representing small businesses, some representing labor, some representing consumer groups, and the list goes on. i think, again, the jobs for the party in power as well as the minority is to work together to produce an environment that can foster some job creation, as joe said in, the private sector, because i think deep down americans understand what's made this country prosperous, and that is the entrepreneurialism, risk-based investment that's characterized by the american dream. so if you talk to big businesses right now, i think what they say is too much uncertainty. as david said, we've got to do something. we can't have the uncertainty of card check, the uncertainty
of cap and trade, the uncertainty of health care, the uncertainty of the tax hikes that are embeded in the code that businesses don't know how that will play out. that is inhibiting investment. if you talk to main-street concerns, small ises across this country, what they're saying is we don't have access to capital. we need credit. if we're going to create jobs, we have to be able to grow and we can't do that without credit. all of this, i think, will play out over the year. how lobbyists intermingle with that, i think lobbyists are much more in tune with their specific client's interest, and right now i think what we're talking about is an environment that has been grossly unfavorable towards risk-based job creation. >> yes. don't know where to start. lot of questions. here first, and then -- >> hello. i'm roland. "the economist" predicted that nato might lose in afghanistan in